It’s time for another Awesome Picture Book post! This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the subject of this post: Emma Chichester Clark. Minty and Tink surprised and delighted me when I first discovered it (here is my review of that book), and since then, I’ve been pleased to spot Ms Chichester Clark’s illustrations in a great many library books (click here for all library holdings). Every time I stumble across one, her work makes me smile, and I can always identify her because of her distinctive style (a fact which was recognized when she was given the Mother Goose Award for best newcomer). However, she is not just a talented illustrator; she is also a skilled writer, whose stories are charming, funny and memorable. Case in point: Bears Don’t Read.
George is a thoughtful bear who spends most of his days wondering about Life. His brothers and sisters are happy to spend their days fishing and chatting, but George wants more. That is when he finds a book lost in the woods. As soon as he gets his paws on the book, he knows he has discovered something very special, but he doesn’t know how to read! Determined to unlock all the secrets in the book, he goes off in search of a place where he will be taught how: a school. Except when George goes into town, he causes widespread panic. Will he ever be able to learn to read?
This is a longer picture book, with a wonderful story that sparks the imagination. Needless to say, the illustrations are unique and eye-catching. The leaves and flowers look like they are inspired by (and comprised of) vintage wallpaper swatches, a wonderful detail that adds great depth to the images. On top of the fantastic visuals, Chichester Clark has created a remarkably likable bear in George; he is determined, smart and curious. As the reader, you want him to find a teacher who isn’t scared of him, because as all readers know, and as George discovers when he finds that lost book in the woods, books make the world a more interesting place!
This picture book is a great choice to inspire and motivate first-time readers, but most of all, it’s a lot of fun.